Directed by Jeremy Wallace
Written by Jeremy Wallace
Produced by Chris Belt
Music by Jeremy Wallace
Cast: Jason Christ, Julie Farrar, Joseph Palermo, Trudy Bequette, Chris Grega, Emily Haack, Robin Garrels, Todd Tevlin, Jeff Atwater & Doc Brown
2003/79 mins/Color/Dolby Surround
1.33:1 Full Frame/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Sub Rosa DVD
Official Web site: http://www.b-movie.com/
2003 has certainly been a year of resurrection for seventies horror. There was Zombie's HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, Roth's CABIN FEVER, the remake of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and another backwoods entity earlier in the year - WRONG TURN. Now Sub Rosa Extreme are back to no good with the Wicked Pixel team - Eric Stanze, Ron Bonk and crew for Jeremy Wallace's hillbilly horror hoedown - THE UNDERTOW.
THE UNDERTOW pursues six friends on a getaway "float trip" to the backwoods town of Old Mines. The group has previous knowledge of a legend about a seven-foot-tall inbred maniac the townsfolk call "The Boy" (played by Doc Brown) that kills any strangers that enter. The townsfolk for this event are your typical hicks from backwoods films of the past - being strange, out of touch, and most certainly unhelpful. Once the group enter the town (to meet their sixth friend), it doesn't take long for them to realize the locals don't take kindly to strangers as evident by the unpleasant welcome of the uppity Deputy. Rather than leave town as ordered by the Deputy, they decide to press onward with their float trip which no doubt they will dearly regret.
During their first night in the woods, Billy (Trudy Bequette) the mayor's daughter sends word to them that they are not welcome and "The Boy" (her brother), kills any strangers that enter the town continuing that her father has mind control over everyone in the town. Once again they think this is just a tactic to get rid of them so they continue on with their evening of drinking and ignore the warnings. When it is too late the group find one of their friends dead, with his head smashed open spilling brains. The group must now enter a race for survival as The Boy violently hunts them down, killing them one by one in an unstoppable killing frenzy.
The slasher subgenre isn't new territory, and neither is the camping trip, lost in the woods type film, but Wallace gives us a forceful entry into this subgenre nevertheless. What this film lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with gallons of gore, believable acting (for the most part), and a fast paced story of a hulking mad-boy, which really gets to you. The character of The Boy is just as good as or better than any giant inbred mongoloid mass murderer we have seen in the last 30 years, including Jason from the FRIDAY THE 13TH films, to blowing away a character like Carl the Butcher of VIOLENT SHIT fame. Wherever Doc Brown came from, he executes a top notch performance, as the relentless killdozer.
THE UNDERTOW is Jeremy Wallace's second feature effort - his first being the festive film THE CHRISTMAS SEASON MASSACRE. This film will no doubt have people talking, and has already caused a buzz. Earlier on in the year a film of this breed called WRONG TURN was released out of the mainstream, with a budget far exceeding this DV picture, but yet THE UNDERTOW isn't far from rivaling it. And if you're not convinced, even Sub Rosa regular Emily Haack (SCRAPBOOK, I SPIT ON YOUR CORPSE, I PISS ON YOUR GRAVE) is back again with her role as Mia and is just as good as ever, along with newcomer Trudy Bequette, and Julie Farrar (of THE CHRISTMAS SEASON MASSACRE) who shine just as much as Haack always does in her Wicked Pixel roles.
Sub Rosa Studios presents THE UNDERTOW in its original full frame aspect ratio. Being a shot on DV picture the quality is top notch, with zero artifacting and vibrant colors with virtually no grain during dark shots. Eric Stanze truly did a fantastic job shooting this movie. This is by far one of the best filmed features on the DV format to date. The sound is presented in Dolby Surround, and while it is pretty much focused in the central channel, the sound is crystal clear and gets its point across. The score by Wallace is fantastic and creates the perfect mood throughout the film.
The disc initially explodes with a montage of clips of Sub Rosa's Extreme Line, which definitely gets you craving more blood. Under the 'Splash' section of the main menu there is a 25-minute 'Behind-The-Scenes' featurette showing the cast and crew do their dirtiest. This is a nice little behind the scenes insertion of clips where they all work as a team. An interesting part was when Stanze even geared up in full divers garb to film the underwater shots. Next up is an at times comical 'Blooper Reel', and then a package of 'Deleted Scenes' which are mostly additional footage to the existing scenes in the movie. There is a 'Stills Gallery', and to round off the supplements, an excess of trailers from Sub Rosa's Extreme lineup. First we have a couple trailers for our present feature. Following that is Wallace's cheesy first film THE CHRISTMAS SEASON MASSACRE, then CHINA WHITE SERPENTINE, the brutal rape revenge romp I SPIT ON YOUR CORPSE, I PISS ON YOUR GRAVE showcasing the talents of Emily Haack, moving on there is a trailer for INSANIAC, Eric Stranze's first feature SAVAGE HARVEST, the experimental ICE FROM THE SUN, and finally Stanze's best film to date SCRAPBOOK. To round off the disc, there are three easter eggs under the 'Splash' section. Highlight the 'Stills Gallery' and press the left arrow button to reveal the text 'River Hound', then hit 'Enter' to play a brief clip of a dog. Second, highlight the 'Preview Trailers' section and press the left arrow button to reveal the hidden text 'On Location', and hit enter. You will see some set footage with the River Hound once again. Thirdly highlight 'Sub Rosa Studios' and press the left button to reveal the text 'Bonk/Stanze'. Hit enter to view a brief interview with Sub Rosa owner Ron Bonk. The disc has some nice animated menus but the DVD sleeve art leaves something to be desired. There is also no insert which is standard for Sub Rosa. Overall this is a nice well rounded disc that should satisfy underground horror fans.
This Film Features:
Review by Chris Mayo. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©